Flash had been up till the break of dawn on www.pot-tv.net live chat, with its international community of cyber tokers, and was pursing the Artistic Inspirations forum on www.cannabisculture.com– It’s a place to share your trippy images and art, plus pot-inspired poems and stoner stories- until the wee hours of the morning. So Flash had just woken up at 5PM and was having his wake ‘n bake with coffee when Crazy Fish called to confirm that Jack Layton was in B.C. and going to a rally at a community centre in the Burnaby Douglas riding, formally in the firm grasp of defamed M.P Sven Robinson .
They met at Broadway station, bought a coffee at Blends, and took the sky train to Brentwood mall. They stopped to smoke a jay of Eh Train waiting for the next bus that took them the few blocks to the Community center. Crazy Fish had the way keenly mapped and had a great sense of direction. The psychology student mused with Flash; it was her superior female corpus collousum, the connections between her left and right spheres of the brain, which gave her such superior intuition.
The press had already gathered outside the front door and a volunteer with a radio in his ear, one of a team of volunteers, escorted Flash and Crazy fish past them and into the crowed hall where they found a couple chairs in the very rear corner. People flashed NDP signs but there was little in the way of background on candidates or written policy besides links to the website. Carol James, leader of the BCNDP, rallied the crowd announcing 700 in attendance at the previous nights meeting in Victoria. She compared Liberal promises of health and child care to Lucy from Peanuts in the comics, with the foot ball. Repeatedly pleading with Charlie Brown to kick the football only to again and again pull the ball away. She said the electorate is fed up with landing flat on their back and crying “Good Grief.” Carol James introduced the candidates standing with her at the podium. Bill Siksay and Peter Julian, and then with much fan fair, the Election Theme song resounding from the elaborate speaker system, and endless applause and clapping of hands in rhythm the NDP Federal Leader, Pot-TV’s favourite, Jack Layton took the campaign stage, silver moustache and all.
He acknowledged Sven Robinson as “always courageous” and indicated that he had stepped down in a courageous manner. Jack Layton introduced Bill Siksay, long time assistant to Sven, as his replacement and added he would be working on the issue of same sex marriage with North Shore Candidate John Nelson whom Jack called to join them on the platform from the back row. Jack said the N.D.P. offered a ‘positive choice’ , great jobs, better Health Care with no tiered privatization (after all they introduced Health Care to Canada last time they were in power), stronger cities, more access to housing and affordable living, child care, no going to war with Iraq with Bush, No to Star Wars as well. Integrity, and 5 years of balanced budgets. In short a “Green and prosperous country with no one left behind.” Jack Layton pointed out that Paul Martin is ignoring the electoral process and hand picking candidates for their ridings. He noted that even apple farmers in the Okanogan will tell you “when picking by hand you’re not supposed to pick the rotten ones.” These appointees loyalty will be to Paul Martin, not their constituents. “We need people to hold the Liberal feet to the fire until you can smell shoe leather” he said. “Prime Minister Martin promises the moon, and then comes down after election with amnesia.” Jack Layton went on that the Liberal Government was like the Antique Road Show that comes on after the news on CBC.
Appraiser: ‘Improving health care? Ohh, that’s a very old Liberal policy… sadly its Worthless…”
Paul Martin’s even promising this time he will not break his promises and to resign if he did. Layton wasn’t even expecting a concession speech so soon.
The neo (Alliance) /Conservatives offer us a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on policy contradicting their ministers with unfortunate ‘wardrobe malfunctions” where we see their scaly underbellies when it comes to same sex marriage, human rights and women’s issues. Jack Layton urged the room of supporters to send the message “Enough is enough!” and the room erupted into applause and standing ovation. “The Election is about Hope and who is Listening; The N.D.P has a positive plan for Everyday People” he encouraged them further.
Flash stepped out the patio doors to the left where the media were lounging outside tittering back and forth making their snide jokes and sardonic comments.
Flash had approached them earlier told them he’d run in provincial election was there to support Jack Layton hear what he had to say about Marijuana.
The reporters looked interested for a nano second then started joking amognst them selves about legalizing crack too. Flash did get the attention of the radio guy for ZED 95.3 FM who wanted him to sing if I had a million dollars with him. Flash first sang him his fathers war tune he had remixed “Too many grows” and explained it then sang ‘If I had a million dollars id buy a great big grow house give the herb to the poor” and told him on tape his medical reason for toking.
A few days earlier Flash found out later his cameo on Speakers Corner had aired where he had held a bud to the lens said “this is good BC bud and the worst thing the Supreme Court says about it is that it’s benign. Then he held up a Starbucks coffee. “Caffeine will kill you” Then a pack of DuMaurier “These will kill you .” Then the bud again “This is a harmless herb.” Then he went on to denounce the Liberals and Conservatives while praising the Jack Layton for calling it a wonderful drug on Pot TV and the efforts of Boris and the Marijuana Party in the East.
Carol James finished with the thank you’s the theme song played and Jack Layton made his way to the press outside the glass patio doors where Flash was standing in the doorway with his blends coffee. An older gentleman with a blue three piece suit approached Flash coming uncomfortably into his space asking him to please step aside. “Oh I wanted to shake Jack Layton’s hand” Flash stammered then fixed his eye at the insignia on his golden pin. It was an RCMP symbol. “You’ll have to wait till after he greets the press the patient policeman explained.” ohh ohh I get ok Flash said absently taping on the officers insignia pin with his finger. It was then he realized that he hadn’t shaven before leaving his house and remembered that two of his front teeth were missing from recent dental appointment and that for all the officer knew he was planning to throw hot coffee on our Leader and that essentially his appearance with his over sized baseball cap was one of a retired rig worker that had walked there from Edmonton. Flash stepped aside and went and put his coffee cup on his chair checked in with Crazy Fish… He escorted Crazy Fish to the washrooms and then they decided to go back for the chance of shaking the leader’s hand.
Most of the supporters had cleared the hall. Still curious he slipped past the guard again following behind some other looky lous and barely was able to overhear Jack Layton answering a question about safe injection sites and using harm reduction principles in his argument. Flash caught the ear of John Nelson of North Van and quizzed him on his commitment to legalization. Nelson apologized he had only been a candidate for a week and was not solid on policy but his liberally educated wife who was there at his side had done a paper comparing drug policy in the Netherlands and the United States. Flash told him of his attendance at the Beyond Prohibition conference with Mayor Campbell and Senator Nolan and of the Professor from the Netherlands that said drug usages and levels of use have more to do with fashion then drug policy and that harsh drug policy like that in the states only serves to make the market more dangerous. Mr John Nelson agreed saying it’s “probably true.”
As Mr. Layton emerged from the press conference Crazy Fish and Flash jockeyed for position to shake his hand. Jacks handshake was strong and firm and his hand was very warm both Crazy Fish and Flash agreed. When Flash Spoke to him he asked him to please mention the ‘Healing Herb’ in his next speech that there were 25,000 people a day that go to pot TV waiting for a cue from him. Flash explained he had been scourging the TV news and disappointed not to hear the issue discussed. Jack shook his hand the whole time Flash spoke and did not let it go. He seemed to take the advice well and nodded agreement.
Smoking another joint of Eh Train at the bus stop Flash thanked Crazy Fish for inviting him they both agreed they wanted to attend many more if they could and Flash vowed to plaster Kingsway with posters of both the NDP and Marijuana Leaf .
So, like dominos we all affect each other Crazy Fish said she would have never gone back and shook Layton’s hand if it wasn’t for Flash. .
Crazy Fish had attended Jack Layton’s interview at the Vancouver Library earlier that day which played on the National that Flash taped that night along with the coverage of Burnaby rally. Reporters, he learned, know ahead of time what they want to hear and pursue it with regard to nothing else. Crazy Fish was thinking if Jack would just follow Mayor Campbell’s advice and regulate and Tax marijuana he could answer reporters with pointed questions about where the money will come from for Health Care by promising to resurrect the underground market that keeps B.C. out of recession and making it main stream. Boris St Maurice tipped Flash off that he heard wind of a story in Toronto where Jack Layton back stepped on some of his Pot-TV commitments. “The proof is in the pudding,” Flash contemplated, and “it’s up to us to track his every step and keep our issues in the limelight. The time for action and to strike with our votes is now. No time in Canadian history has the prize of legalization been closer within our grasp. If the Christian right can side with the Conservatives over the single issue of same sex marriage then us pot smokers can be a powerful lobby group as well and span all levels of society. Fill the Hill!”